40 Million Americans on Food Stamps: When Do WE Start Rioting?

Forty million Americans, or one in eight of us, are currently on food stamps, according to this report.

Clearly, the American economic system is breaking down, and breaking Americans down with it. How bad does it have to get before people head out on the street and start voicing their anger and frustration? Could the US be the next state to face revolution, rather than some place in the Middle East. The conservative have dismantled most of the social safety net so that people in distress have little prospect of things getting better.

Meanwhile, US corporation are rolling in cash and stockholders are getting richer. Our wealthy elite has no clue what is going on, it’s party time for them. Maybe it’s about time to head to the barricades … if not … when WILL it be time?

How will taking to the streets make things better?
What would you replace the current system with?
How many millions of people are you willing to kill to see your preferred system put in place?
The fact that the current system is working for seven out of with of us during the worst recession in seventy years would seem to indicate that the current system is a pretty good one.
Also in case you hadn’t noticed hundreds of thousands of americans took to the streets to protest the way the government was run. It was called the Tea Party, and doesn’t seem to count since it was non-violent.

This. If we want to remove the current President, or the legislature, we don’t need to take to the streets. We hold free and fair legislative elections every two years, and free and fair Presidential elections every four. Our system, while not perfect, incorporates responsiveness to the popular will as a matter of course. Mubarak’s dictatorship doesn’t - hence the need for revolution.

I think we’ll need a lot more Americans to be on the brink of starvation and/or actually homeless, before we see significant unrest. But I think we’re likely to get that in time.

Sure, but what if we face problems that are insoluble within the parameters of our system? Or at least, within any given four-year window of our system?

And that, for better or worse, is why there isn’t discontent. The definition of “working out” is now not being on food stamps.

I think the key point the OP is missing about the Egyptian riots is not that they are poor, it’s that they don’t have and real opportunity to change their station. Everyone they know is poor and stuck.

That’s not the case in the US. Systems exist to grant economic opportunity to the citizens, and there is a lot of help available for citizens to work toward that opportunity.

It would force the powers that be to address the problems of the people who are losing instead of just taking money from lobbyists and doing whatever they say.

I would do a couple of things:
A) Redefine the goal of our economic thinkers to be growing and building a strong middle class that has plenty of entry points for the poor to get into it, rather than building a super-wealthy minority
B) Go back to limiting the amount that can be spent on political campaigns. Let’s face it, campaign donations have become nothing more than legitimized bribery, a trend that will only increase since Citizens United.

I am against killing. I like to see people in general lead better, more hopeful lives.

Ah. “I’m all right, Jack!” I hear you!

The Tea Party is a bunch of deluded oldsters who want to hang onto their government entitlements (like Medicare and Social Security) and blame their problems on whoever Fox News says is bad. They don’t count because they are idiots.

I’m not sure the opportunity to go on food stamps is viewed by most as “changing their station” in a god way. But obviously you differ!

Plus, having lots of people on food stamps doesn’t mean people are desperate, it means they AREN’T desperate. They have food assistance, so they aren’t starving. If they needed food assistance but didn’t have any, that’s when they’d be rioting.

If the poor are rioting for bread, the solution is to hand out bread. If we’re already handing out free bread, there’s no incentive to hold bread riots. What are they going to demand? “We demand that the government continue to give us food assistance, and we won’t stop rioting until the food assistance continues! Oh, there’s plenty of food assistance available? Huh. OK, we’re done now. Everyone go home!”

No, it doesn’t. Taking the limits off how much can be spent on elections has ensured that our government is one big bribery game. They respond to whoever pays them the most. Food stamp recipients tend not to have a lot of money to spare for such purposes.

I find it a bit funny that while the bad old conservatives have gutted the social safety net, it allowed a record number of people to be able to collect welfare? 40 million you say? Wow!

There isn’t actually enough food assistance available, at least not for the long term. Community food banks are in crisis in many parts of the country.


Long term, there shouldn’t be a need to provide that much food assistance. That is what the focus needs to be on. How to get people off of the government teet and back to work (or to work at all in some cases)

Apples and oranges, my friend. Foods stamps /= welfare. Foods stamps just keep you fed, they do no keep you clothed and sheltered. I’m GLAD all these people can get food stamps, but I’d RATHER they had jobs. And that’s kind of the CRUX of the problem … the corporations and stockholders are doing fine, so when the hell will jobs reappear? The corporations will continue shipping jobs overseas and so forth and letting America’s middle class disintegrate. I’m against that. Are you for it?

No it would not, what politicians pay attention to are voters. This is why old people have so much say in our national politics. They vote, not because politicians fear them taking to the streets. Contrast this with how ineffective the hippy left was at ending the Iraq war. They took to the streets all the time, but did not vote in substantial numbers and were ignored.

a)The goal of our economic thinkers is already into growing a strong middle class economy. Just no one knows how to do it. Barry O and his minions spent 8 times the cost of the appollo program on economic stimulus that did not work. Previous administrations spent billions on subsidized loans for people to buy houses in the hopes of expanding the middle class, and that blew up in our faces. Green Lantern economics is just silly, every politician knows it is easier to get reelected in a good economy and harder in a bad economy.
b) There is no empirical evidence that money spent on political campaigns translates into electoral success. There is that famous study in Freakonomics. The most recent electoral cycle bears this out. Look at California where Meg Whitman lost to Governor Moonbeam, or Connecticut where Linda McMahon failed in her bid for the senate.

The Egyptian riots have already seen much killing, and revolutions in general tend to be very bloody. That is why our system is so great, peaceful transistions of power.

Only people who agree with you have honest convictions, everyone else is a mercenary.

People who disagree with you are bad, even when they are doing what you say they should be doing. I am sure after your revolution they will be the first up against the wall.

A compelling argument!

:eek: (<—holding breath icon)

I wouldn’t

Ok. Why should they riot if they are already getting assistance? It’s when people don’t get assistance and they are having problems that they would riot. So…when said assistance cuts off with nothing in the pipeline to replace it and get assistance to people, THEN we will probably have riots in the streets, with dogs and cats living together and all the rest of that jazz (hands).

I wouldn’t hold my :eek: if I were you, since I see no indication that this is on the brink of happening.

It’s not clear to me at all. The only thing that’s clear to me, besides the Sky is Falling chicken-littling going on from various fringe left winger types is that we are in a pretty bad recession. A debate point might be when and how said recession will end, if we are on the back side of it or there are still downward bumps in the future (or, on the other side, if we are technically still in a recession at all these days), but showing that 40 million Americans are on food stamps does not constitute proof that the US economic system is ‘breaking down’.

Well, considering that things were worse this time last year, I’d go with ‘considerably worse than at the low point of the current recession’ as an answer. Since we didn’t have wide spread rioting even during the Great Depression, I’d probably use that as a starting baseline for how much worse things would have to get before your fantasy takes wing. Again, I wouldn’t :eek:…

Sure, we could be. We could be being controlled by lizard aliens, or monkeys could fly out of Obama’s butt at his next press conference. A lot of things are possible. The probability of a Middle East style revolution happening in the US in any sort of reasonable time frame are about in line with those monkeys flying out of Obama’s buttocks next time you see him on TV…

:eek: (<—don’t do it unless you can hold it for a few decades or a century or so)

Funny that those 40 million can still get food stamps then, isn’t it?

You should get there early to make sure you get a prime spot. They will be filling up quickly. Take a few deep breaths and go ahead…:eek:


Evil Captor, you’re missing the whole point of welfare and related benefits. It’s not to be a beneficent hand to the unfortunate, not primarily. It’s to keep the unfortunate from turning to violence and revolution when things are really bad. The whole deep, national duty to help our fellow poor citizens thing was part of that…the real purpose was to make the “new” American system, the New Deal, more attractive than the CPUSA and the Socialists, back in the Depression. And the Great Society, as well. Notice that it was initiated when tensions were so bad that riots would eventually break out in multiple American cities?

There won’t be any violent (or even non-violent) revolutions against corporatist government as long as food aid (especially) is available. Which makes Republican attempts to bring those programs to heel short-sighted and dumb.